OZtoberFest sets final lineup of entertainment, attractions

By The Mercury

OZtoberFest celebrates its ninth anniversary in Wamego from September 27 through September 29.

In addition to the Oz-themed attractions that bring people to Wamego from all over the nation, this year’s event features many added activities designed to appeal to local residents of all ages.

Mary Lyn Barnett is the executive director of the Wamego Chamber of Commerce, which co-sponsors the festival with the Oz Museum. At a recent Chamber meeting, she described several of the new features and underscored the “something for everyone” dynamic of 2013, such as an adventure run called “One Wicked Run: The OZtoberFest Obstacle Challenge.” They will also have the OZtoberFest Beer Garden.

Saturday night’s principal attraction is a dance at The Columbian, headlined by the Pott. County Posse, a local band comprised of area notables. “Over the Rainbow: Betti O Sings the Music of Harold Arlen” is the special Friday night fundraiser, celebrating the man who wrote the songs for The Wizard of Oz and so many other shows and movies.

New activities for children also have been added to the roster, which now includes an expanded petting zoo, Oz look-alike contests, and coloring and writing competitions.

“A new, fun event will be the smartphone scavenger hunt,” said Shawn Lane, who is putting together the contest.  “Oz-themed items will be located in discreet locations throughout the festival grounds.  Take some photos and email them to the designated email address.  That’s all it takes to win a fun Oz collectible from the Museum.”

Earlier this year, it was announced that the Chesterton, Ind., Oz Festival had been canceled after three decades.

“The Chesterton event was the granddaddy of all Oz fests,” commented Clark Balderson, chairman of the OZtoberFest steering committee.  “While we are sad to see such a venerable event no longer on the calendar, we are ready to welcome any and all visitors who want to get their Oz festival fix this year.”

Other attractions during the weekend will include the annual Oz Winery Tallgrass Brewery BBQ tent and the entertainment stage, featuring area talent and numerous Oz-themed competitions.

For additional information about this event and other activities of the 2013 OZtoberFest, contact the Oz Museum in Wamego, Kansas, 1-866-458-TOTO. Or visit www.OZtoberFest.com.

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